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Charles Augustus Lindbergh

Lindbergh, Charles Augustus, 1902–74, American aviator who made the first solo, nonstop transatlantic flight, b. Detroit; son of Charles A. Lindbergh (1859–1924). He left the Univ. of Wisconsin (1922) to study flying. After service as a flying cadet, he was commissioned (1925) in the air force reserve and later became an airmail pilot. On May 21, 1927, Lindbergh astounded the world by landing in Paris after a solo flight from New York across the Atlantic in The Spirit of St. Louis. Upon his return to the United States he received an unprecedented welcome, was promoted to colonel, and made a nationwide tour to foster popular interest in aviation.

Lindbergh married (1929) Anne Morrow (see below), the daughter of the U.S. ambassador to Mexico Dwight W. Morrow, and with her made several long flights. After the kidnapping and death of their son (see Hauptmann, Bruno Richard) in 1932, the Lindberghs moved (1935) to England. In 1936, Lindbergh collaborated with Alexis Carrel on the invention of a perfusion pump that could maintain organs outside the body.

After inspecting (1938) European air forces, Lindbergh became convinced of German air superiority; he favored a U.S. policy of isolationism with respect to the struggle threatening in Europe. He returned (1939) to the United States and made antiwar speeches for the America First Committee. When these were branded pro-Nazi, he resigned his reserve commission and quit the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. Upon U.S. entry into the war Lindbergh offered his services to the air force; he subsequently flew combat missions in the Pacific. In his later years he emerged as a spokesman on conservation issues.

See his We (1927), Of Flight and Life (1948), The Spirit of St. Louis (1953; Pulitzer Prize), and The Wartime Journals (1970); memoir by his daughter, R. Lindbergh (1998); biographies by W. S. Ross (1968) and A. S. Berg (1998); T. Kesssner, The Flight of the Century: Charles Lindbergh and the Rise of American Aviation (2010).

His wife, Anne Spencer Morrow Lindbergh, 1906–2001, b. Englewood, N.J., grad. Smith College, 1927, was a writer and aviator. Her more than two dozen works include North to the Orient (1935) and Listen! the Wind (1938), both accounts of flights she made with her husband; The Wave of the Future (1940), a tract advocating isolationism; Gift from the Sea (1955), a poetic, highly personal, and best-selling study of the problems of women; The Unicorn and Other Poems (1956); a novel, Dearly Beloved (1962); and a volume of essays, Earth Shine (1969).

See her diaries and letters, Bring Me a Unicorn (1972), Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead (1973), Locked Rooms and Open Doors (1974), The Flower and the Nettle (1976), and War Within and Without (1980); biographies by S. Hertog (1999) and K. C. Winters (2007).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Aviation: Biographies


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